national Arts Festival Banner

Monday, November 28, 2016


(Linda Vargas with Demi Fernandez and the company. Pic by Val Adamson)

The Linda Vargas Flamenco Dance Company in collaboration with jazz musicians Neil Gonsalves (piano), Demi Fernandez (jazz/flamenco guitar) once again take to the intimate venue of UKZN’s Jazz Centre to present Juego Flamenco, the latest instalment  in what is now an annual treat for Durban audiences from these well-respected performers.

Flamenco is a style of fusion dance from Andalucia which is a blend of Spanish, Indian, Arabic, Latin and Celtic cultures. It uses rhythmic clapping and stamping combined with expressive arm movements to express the power and beauty of the individual soul.

Having previously explored the fusion between flamenco and Jazz, Arabic, Indian Kathak, Celtic, and South American styles; Juego Flamenco, meaning ‘flamenco game,’ is a playful blend of these musical and movement styles whilst still embracing the flamenco essence.  Featuring pulsating rhythms and exhilarating music and dance, Juego Flamenco will provide audiences with yet another feast for the senses.

Backed by Demi Fernandez and Neil Gonsalves, these renowned musicians in their own right present new compositions alongside the dance. They are joined by Bryan Stone on percussion who will also add live singing, alongside Gemma Schumann – who made her singing debut as a highlight in last year’s show.

Linda Vargas is the founder and director of the Linda Vargas Flamenco Dance Company. She has choreographed numerous flamenco dance productions as well as the opera productions La Traviata, Amal, Faust, Salome and Carmen. She co-founded the international organization Alianza Flamenca and is a member of its Board of Directors, as well as its panel of international examiners. She currently lectures at UKZN and performs, examines and conducts educational and corporate workshops both nationally and internationally. Her educational dance workshops in schools and for NAPTOSA assist teachers to incorporate dance in the formal school curriculum. Vargas holds a Masters Degree in Education as well as BA Honours in Drama, LISTD and Final Diploma (ISTD, London).

Gonsalves holds a Masters degree in Music and has performed in various national music festivals with numerous South Africa jazz and Afro-beat luminaries as well as his own band, Tonk. He has also toured internationally, including a four-year stint as part of Johnny Clegg’s band. He has released a solo album North Facing which represents a blend of modern South African and Nordic Jazz.

Fernandez was born in Brazil of Spanish parents and spent many years living and performing in Flamenco Tablaos in Spain. He has also appeared as leading flamenco guitarist with numerous South African and international Spanish dance companies.  He is resident guitarist for the Linda Vargas Flamenco Dance Company and Alianza Flamenca. He has composed musical scores for several SABC TV productions and also appeared in numerous productions including Guitars for Africa in Durban and at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. He currently lectures in the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Jazz programme.

Juego Flamenco runs at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music on the UKZN’s Howard College campus from December 8 to11. Performances are nightly at 19h00 and on December 11 at 15h00. Entrance R130 (R100 students/pensioners). Bookings through Linda on: or 031 201 0750 (mornings only). Tickets are limited for each performance so advanced booking is advised to avoid disappointment.